While you may see people vaping on Perth’s streets every day, the fact is they could face a fine of up to $45,000 for using an e-cigarette containing nicotine. And while it’s not illegal to vape without nicotine, the sale and supply of vape gear in Western Australia remains so.
The advocacy group Legalise Vaping Australia along with Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) have enlisted the support of Liberal Democrats MP Aaron Stonehouse. Right now they’re on a mission to collect 50,000 signatures as part of a petition in support of the legislation of vaping which Mr Stonehouse will present to Parliament by the end of the year.
ATHRA director Dr Joe Kosterich has also lent his support to the campaign. He recently told NINE News in WA that it’s important that vaping is legalised to help reduce the rates of smoking and the harm done through smoking.
“We know that two out of three smokers will die from smoking related illnesses,” he said.
“In this country we have the highest taxation and cigarette prices in the world and we’ve had plain packaging and yet there’s no decrease in the number of smokers between 2013 and 2016. We used to lead the world, but now the UK, the US, the EU and even Japan, are starting to go past us and the only difference is they’ve legalised vaping. New Zealand, as of March this year has also legalised vaping.”
Western Australia wants change
Mr Stonehouse, a member of the Western Australian Upper House, is a passionate supporter of personal choice and the use of e-cigarettes to reduce smoking.
“Western Australia wants change,” he said.
“The sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is legal in practically every other country in the developed world, and it’s time that Australia caught up.
“We’re asking that the State Government make two specific changes on vaping: number one, legalise the sale of e-cigarettes, and number two, legalise the sale of e-liquids containing nicotine and their use in any area where smoking is not restricted.
“Vaping is not harmless, but it is 95% per cent less harmful than smoking cigarettes, so if cigarettes are legal, then it stands to reason that e-cigarettes should be as well.”
Unfortunately in WA you can’t do online petitions, but if you want to have your voice heard you can contact Legalise Vaping WA to join their campaign to ensure they reach their target.